How to Spot Greenwashing of an Eco-lodge

Nowadays, there’s so much GREEN everywhere from businesses to retail products and services. Everyone is striving to showcase how environmentally friendly they are. This is especially the case with the tourism/hospitality industry. Most likely you’ve seen a surge of hotels and eco-lodges using buzzwords we’ve all came across ‘eco-friendly’. So many companies are spending large amounts of money on marketing how ‘green’ they are. Which gives people an impression they’re environmentally driven when the reality is they don’t have many green policies. 

Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the world of greenwashing. Please don’t fall victim to the slogans or earthly colours they use in their advertising. It’s important to know how to spot greenwashing at an eco-lodge. You can do this by looking into their policies, as a guideline this is what eco-lodges should be doing as a minimum. Here’s how to spot greenwashing at an eco-lodge.

Have they gone plastic-free?

What are they doing to combat the plastic crisis? Have they eliminated all single-use plastics from the lodge itself? Recently I stayed at Hotel Karuna, an eco-hotel in Pokhara, Nepal. They removed all plastic from the rooms. Who gave guests a glass jar to fill up their water with and a shampoo/body bar to wash. Some eco-lodges also use biodegradable wrapping to protect room amenities, which limits the plastic. Have they switched their straws over to bamboo or copper? The plastic items they do have, do they recycle? 

Does it empower and positively impact the local community?

Eco-lodges MUST hire locals and benefit their lives. This can be within the eco-lodge or by using local guides. If this is the case, are employees paid at a fair rate? To respect the community, they often place pride in the local heritage and culture. How have they decorated their interior, do they have local artefacts? Is the furniture inside typical to that country or was it imported? 

Not just the interior, what about the exterior? Notice the techniques used to build the eco-lodge and the materials used. Eco-lodges must have been made by local craftsmen/women. This pumps investment back into the local economy. Likewise, impact and empower the local surroundings. 

In regards to local communities, they must help out with donations. Whether it’s non-profits, local conservation programmes or anything else. Eco-lodges must play an essential role in the community.  

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What is their water consumption policy?

In hospitality, eco-lodges have a high turn over of guests. Depending on how frequently guests have their towels or bedding washed over a stay, it may impact the environment. Sometimes, there are signs highlighting the environmental benefits to re-using towels/linens. It does not just stop there; at times, they also have filtration systems and recycle water waste. 

Do they use local ingredients?

If the eco-lodge has a restaurant, do they source local ingredients in their meals? Ask around outside of the eco-lodge with locals what produce is subject to that season. Likewise, look at nearby markets.

Do they operate off renewable energy? 

Greenwashing at an eco-lodge

Do they use renewable energy sources? For example, solar panels to generate hot water or electricity? The lightbulbs they use, are they low wattage or LED type ones? Similarly, to reduce light usage, they may have installed built-in sensors inside the rooms. 

Are the guests educated?

Based on their policies, do they inform the guests about them? Do they take time to showcase to their guests that they’ve gone out of their way to help the environment and the people around it?

What are they doing other than this? 

Look at their extra efforts where they go the extra mile to achieve sustainability. This is often the minimum required to become ‘eco-friendly’. It’s what they do beyond this to make it a sustainable and a true eco-lodge. 

Is that all for how to spot greenwashing at an eco-lodge?

These are top tips on how to spot greenwashing at an eco-lodge. Do you research and investigations to look even further.


Extracts of Alex

Navigating Nepal and the World

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